WHAT TO SAY AT AN IZAKAYA
(A JAPANESE-STYLE TAVERN)

When dining in Japan, it is customary to say “itadakimasu (translated as “I humbly receive”) before eating, and “gochisosama (meaning that was a feast) once you finish your meal. Since it is almost impossible to pronounce itadakimasu clearly on an empty stomach, say “eat a mickey mouse” real quickly and you’ll probably get away with it.

When first ordering at an izakaya, Japanese people often say “toriaezu nama (literally a draught for now, but this line implies that while beer may not be what I really want to drink, I’m ordering it to get things moving… and you should as well.) Since Japanese will never start drinking until everyone gets their drink and you perform a proper glass-clinking cheers, ordering something complicated will make everyone wait. Draught beer can be ordered in a jokki (mug) or a bin (bottle) and is available in dai (large), chu (medium) and sho (small) sizes.

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